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Seriously ... how much do you spend on show clothes?

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  • Seriously ... how much do you spend on show clothes?

    This is the dressage forum, so I'm asking about dressage competition/showing.

    So ... jacket that you can't wear anywhere else ... white or light colored breeches that you presumably don't dare wear anywhere else. Show shirt, stock (really, you use the stock somewhere else??) ... White gloves ... what else? Maybe a special sparkly hair cover?

    Do you have tall boots that you only wear to show? How about helmet just for showing?

    How much do you sink into all that? A poorly-fitted coat definitely detracts from "the picture" and one can't always depend on coats being waived. I have a lovely Harry Hall frock coat that is just too hot to even consider wearing most of the year in central Florida. So, I'm looking at technical fabrics and gasping for air just a little bit. I'm not even seeing bargains on eBay!

    And all of this is after dressing your horse!

    What's your budget?

  • #2
    There's no need to spend a huge amount. The key to nice-looking show clothes is the fit, not the label or the price.

    The last show coat I bought was back in the late 90s and I believe I paid something just over $100USD. It still fits, it's been well taken care of, and as it's a classic cut I expect it will last longer than I will. I used to swear by Devon Aire breeches because they fit me better than more expensive brands. I did have a patey-style hunt cap that I wore only for shows, but it was of the under $30 variety. I HATE the idea of having special boots only for competition because I want exactly the same levels of flexibility and sensitivity that I have when schooling - regular cleaning and conditioning keeps my everyday Ariats usable for shows. My hair is tied back with a black scrunchy over a .50 hair net. Yes, my stock tie is worn only for shows as is my show shirt, but all in all I'd say my complete competition wardrobe (boots not included) cost less than $250. but I'll have to add another $100 onto that when I start competing again, due to the new helmet rules. Still, the expense seems quite benign compared to other competition outlays!

    A professional turnout DOES NOT have to cost the earth, unless you want it to.
    Proud COTH lurker since 2001.


    • #3
      I school in my show boots. Mountain Horse, cost me about 200, maybe 275? But I take them off and change into ratty ancient barn shoes right after I ride, every time.

      I have two pair of Romph (sp?) show breeches, not full seats, but they fit super well and I don't school in them, ever. Not terribly pricey, don't recall specs...$100/each

      Helmet: I use my One K helmet, every ride. I use a helmet cover to keep it clean. It fits. Period. So I use it. Plus they age out after 5 years so for that much $$, damn skippy I'm going to wear it every ride.

      Gloves: I have 3-4 pr of SSG gloves, all the same style, in black. I keep one newish pr set aside in my show bag. The rest I just use and wash and keep going...20 bucks each...bought them over time not all at once...

      Coat: off the rack, 150 bucks. No big deal. I did swap the buttons out myself for better looking ones. Meh.

      Saddle pads: I have 2 that I only use for showing. They get laundered and live in my closet when not in use. My barn is...rustic. I don't want mouse poop on my sparkly white pads

      This is cheap dressing compared to Western!!


      • #4
        Don't know my budget yet since I've just begun, but here in the Deep South my pair of $49 On Course full seats saved me. Thin and lightweight which is a must in Region 3. I get mine from Jeffers because I know what I'm getting. I have multiple pairs On Course breeches and none of them feel like that pair.

        The advent of technical fabrics made prices skyrocket. I haven't had the chance to try them because tack stores here are few and far between.


        • #5
          I just bought a new show coat this year as my old one never had a great fit, although I do keep it as a backup. My new coat is a really lovely RJ Classics in a lighterweight fabric, last year's style bought on sale for under $200. New breeches (because lets face it, whites never last too long): less expensive than I buy for regular everyday wear, because hey, I don't need to wear them day in and day out: TuffRider, $75. And the best part, the fit is actually pretty close to my much more expensive (and preferred) GoodeRiders.

          I do have a helmet just for showing, and buy new gloves once a year. Shirts I buy on sale. Boots are just my well cared for every day boots.

          All in all - its doable, but you have to work a little to find the fits that are right for you. Also, if you find a great second hand jacket that's not quite the fit you want, consider bringing it to a good tailor. If the fabric is right, you can get it tailored just for you!
          Here Be Dragons: My blog about venturing beyond the lower levels as a dressage amateur.


          • #6
            I search continuously for deals, because it seems like you never know when / what'll come along. I recently purchased an absolutely stunning Eurofit frock (new with tags) on eBay for about $150. I collect stocks and pins, and bought my most recent one -- pique with navy piping -- for $5.00 on clearance (originally $45) at a Phoenix-area tack shop. My show boots are custom Dehners out of their back room -- someone ordered them with matching spur straps and never paid / collected. Luckily she had the exact same measurements as me, so I scored those for $200. That included the matching spur straps and Dehner boot trees and boot box. I need new breeches this year, so I'm looking on eBay, CL, Tackeria, etc.
            Piaffe Girl -- Dressage. Fashionably.


            • #7
              I got a $950 Pikeur shadbelly on sale for $250 from SmartPak back when my horse was schooling first level.

              Then when my trainer asked me to demo ride a symposium for her on a Training Level horse in appropriate show clothes, obviously the only thing I owned was a shad. Priorities, people, priorities. Had to purchase white breeches for $129 and a $15 bib stock tie that would preclude the purchase of an additional shirt. My Koenigs I already had, purchased at Beval's off the rack for $100 (no, seriously. Two zeros, not three.)

              Re-used the hunt coat. Aim to reuse it again when my own horse goes in the ring at Third in a few weeks for our first dressage show.

              But that shad man. It RAWKS.
              I'm coming for it, too. It better get ready.
              The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
              Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
              The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY


              • #8
                I have white full seats from on course that I got forever ago for a little of $40. My coat cost under $100. This year I did purchase a new show shirt, because I have been using the same one since I was 12 and 15ish years later it only works under a coat, I got the smart pak cooling fabric one for about $40. I also go new gloves (white) for $25 because I lose mine all the time and ride in the $5.00 ones on a daily bases. I got my boots for about $80 on consignment.(I even got a compliment on them last weekend at a show). And I have a velvet helmet that I show in it was a gift so I don't know what the price tag was.

                but all in all showing can be affordable and your clothes can last a long time.


                • #9
                  My "show" clothing:

                  1. Dressage coat: ~$300
                  2. A pair of white breeches: $100
                  3. A couple of white shirts: ~$30 each, so about $60.
                  4. A pair of white gloves: $40.
                  5. Stock: $20?

                  That is it. The most expensive one is that coat; the good news is I don't plan to change it, ever. I use my daily tall boots and helmet for shows.


                  • #10
                    1. Coat: one off the rack dark navy from local tack shop for $49 brand new. Cute.
                    2. Coat: Very fancy Cavallo used at a fun Middleburg consignment shop. $170? It's wool. Not the best decision as I live in a HOT HOT HOT climate. But I think it's going to be great for the winter shows. The last show at 92 degrees, not so much. Luckily coats were excused.
                    3. Breeches: 2 pairs at less than $100 each.
                    4. Long sleeve show shirt $19 on sale from SmartPak.
                    5. Short sleeve show shirt $29 on sale from local store.
                    6. Gloves: $39
                    7. Stock tie: $15. Plus another given to me.
                    8. Stock pin: given to me.
                    9. Helmet. Schooling helmet. don't remember how much, but nothing fancy.
                    10. Boots. Same Middleburg consignment shop, brand new with tags. fit me perfectly (8 tall slim). field boots and I don't care. $89
                    11. Hair bow less than $5.

                    Now, as for horse? Ha!
                    1. Saddle - too much
                    2. 2 pads - PRI - one as a gift, one $39. Scored another at Del Mar this weekend for $29 but it's black with white piping so I'll school in it.
                    3. Bridle - Horze, inexpensive, patent leather nose and brow. Isn't the best fit, I've discovered, but it was shiny and I needed a new one THAT DAY. Will probably get a new one this summer/fall with better attention to detail (and will probably create a whole new post about it looking for advice ).

                    Ebay is great. I got a great pair of breeches on there that are allegedly a 26, but fit more like a 24, and I could only put them on after lying on the bed and sucking it in. Then I couldn't really walk as a result, so now they're just hanging in the closet now.

                    I think the key is shopping ahead.
                    LarkspurCO: no horse's training is complete until it can calmly yet expressively perform GP in stadium filled w/chainsaw juggling zombies riding unicycles while flying monkeys w/bottle rockets...


                    • #11
                      I too am a deal hunter... The FEI ensemble I'll be wearing this year would have cost me close to $1400 had I bought everything new/retail. Thanks to my deal hunting my outfit cost me about $425.

                      Shadbelly - Custom Adashi - retail: $1000+; eBay: $250
                      Show Shirt - Pikeur Short Sleeve - Retail: $90+; Calevo: $40
                      Breeches - Can't recall the Brand - retail: ~$200; Tack of the Day: ~$85
                      White Gloves - Roeckl - Paid Retail: $50

                      I still have my stock ties and pins from when I was a teenager so I don't count those and I use all of my horse's tack daily so I don't count that either I also don't really count the following items into my show outfit expense because I wear them daily for schooling:

                      Boots: Ariat Winchester Dress - Paid Retail: ~$450
                      Helmet: Charles Owens GR8 - Retail: $300; bought from my old instructor for $80.


                      • #12
                        Another deal hunter here. The only thing I've absolutely had to replace are my white breeches (mainly due to fit, but also turned a bit yellow).

                        Coat: Pikeur Diana I bought about 12 years ago. I think I paid about $300 for it at the time. Its wool, so I'm considering getting a lightweight jacket that I can wear here in the deep south, but I have time before I need it.
                        Shirt: Romfh short sleeve show shirt, bought around the same time as the Diana. I think it was about $40 or so. Still fits so no worries there.
                        Breeches: Horze Grand Prix full seats I got for half price during one of their coupon sales around Christmas. Best $60 I ever spent.
                        Gloves: SSG All Weather. I've had these for a while too, but paid $23 for them. Also have a back-up pair of SSG Digital Gloves and got $15 off using the USDF certificate a couple years ago.
                        Stock tie: Romfh pre-tied stock tie. About $20 or so.
                        Stock pin: I have many of these, but I just got a new one in silver. $13
                        Helmet: I do have a separate show helmet, mainly so I don't care if I scuff up my schooling one. IRH Elite EQ, got it on sale last summer during the Helmet Awareness sale for $160 I think.

                        Not including my boots because I school in them. I do have two pairs though, so one will become my primary schooling boot with the newer ones being primarily show. Still breaking those in so they are getting worn like normal.
                        Last edited by LadyNeon01; May. 1, 2013, 05:00 PM. Reason: grammar
                        My May boys: Beau, Neon, Criss


                        • #13
                          I hope you don't mind an eventer chiming in. I do straight dressage as well and have shown at a few recognized competitions (Training Level and 1st Level).

                          I got almost everything on ebay.

                          -Pikeur Doreen in Navy which I got for $250 or $275 if I can recall on eBay. New without tags and it is beautiful.
                          -Golden Dress show coat for $50 on eBay because missing buttons. Buttons were cheap and I use it as a back up/rainy day coat.

                          -I have a pair of white SSG gloves that were $25. They are the exact same as my everyday gloves just white. I don't like to change things from everyday to show.

                          Stock Tie:
                          -$25 one with bib which is great for FL weather when I wear a tank underneath.
                          -$10 pre tied one to throw on over show shirt if I actually wear one.
                          -$3 Kilt Pins from Joanne Fabrics. Sharper and stronger than expensive stock pins. Same size as well come in brass or chrome.

                          Show Shirt:
                          Usually I wear a tank top or t shirt because I have a bib stock tie so really nothing on that. I have a white Dover one that was $20.

                          2x pair of white full seats both Trainers Choice on sale for $50 each so $100 total.

                          I ride in the same Ariat Crown tall boots every day as I show in. Paid $180 for them and bought three pairs as spares. I just take care of them and wear booties so the toe doesn't get scuffed.

                          I have two, one IRH SSV or SSH or something which I got for $120. It is vented and I really like it. I also have a velvet charles owen I got for $100 on eBay new.

                          I don't spend that much for show clothes, but I am about to splurge on a new vented coat by FITS. It is going to have to be tailored as I hate how long it is, but I want the coolness for living in FL.
                          I am on my phone 90% of the time. Please ignore typos, misplaced lower case letters, and the random word butchered by autocowreck.


                          • #14
                            As a recently converted hunter princess, I am no doubt "too" concerned about fashion. But frankly I find that aspect of showing part of the fun, so I had a good time putting together a well-coordinated outfit, and I found quite a lot of stuff on Ebay, so it wasn't all that expensive (with the exception of my dress boots, which I splurged on.)

                            I got a really pretty Cavallo coat - the Galathea model - for about $100 on Ebay, still brand new with the tags on it. It's a very comfortable technical fabric and fits really well; I didn't even need to get it tailored.

                            Likewise, I found several pairs of brand new full seats - Pikeur, Ovation and Goode Rider - on Ebay for around $100 each. I wasn't sure how well they would wash up and wanted to make sure I had "a clean pair and a spare," just in case, but they all wash up perfectly so far, so I've never used the spare pair.

                            I found a couple of short sleeved show shirts - both Pikeur - on sale online, for around $40-50 each. I did buy my stock tie at retail at my local tack store, but it wasn't particularly expensive. I already had a couple of vintage pins so no need to buy anything new there, and I had an AYR8 helmet that is comfortable and fits well, so I just use that.

                            My one big splurge was a pair of Tucci custom dress boots. I started out using my field boots, a pair of "leather sock" Der Daus that I absolutely love, but they don't do my leg/ankle any favors in a dressage saddle; they're just too bendy. Getting a fairly stiff pair of dress boots instantly improved my leg 100%, and they're now very comfortable finally, so they were worth the $$$. I do ride in them on a daily basis, though... they were too costly just to use for shows.
                            We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                            • #15
                              Lucassb, tell me about the improvement in the stiff boots...how do they help? (I'm in field boots)
                              LarkspurCO: no horse's training is complete until it can calmly yet expressively perform GP in stadium filled w/chainsaw juggling zombies riding unicycles while flying monkeys w/bottle rockets...


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by right horse at the right time View Post
                                Lucassb, tell me about the improvement in the stiff boots...how do they help? (I'm in field boots)
                                In my field boots, my ankles sort of "broke over" instead of creating a long, straight line down through my heel. In my dress boots, I literally *can't* bend my ankle that way - so my leg stays long. Let me see if I can find some pics.
                                We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                                • #17
                                  ooh I'd love to see! I thought I was being frugal...but if it is at the cost of issues with my leg (which I have), then I need to rethink this. It would be exceptionally WONDERFUL if you told me that dress boots prevented your toes from turning out !
                                  LarkspurCO: no horse's training is complete until it can calmly yet expressively perform GP in stadium filled w/chainsaw juggling zombies riding unicycles while flying monkeys w/bottle rockets...


                                  • #18
                                    Click image for larger version

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                                    In the first pic, you can see my ankles are "broken" - second pic they are not.
                                    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by right horse at the right time View Post
                                      ooh I'd love to see! I thought I was being frugal...but if it is at the cost of issues with my leg (which I have), then I need to rethink this. It would be exceptionally WONDERFUL if you told me that dress boots prevented your toes from turning out !
                                      Indeed... all they can do in those boots is hang.straight.down!!!

                                      And I have to say...although they were expensive, I looooooooove my boots and think they were worth every penny I spent on them. My leg was instantly so much better; I could lengthen my stirrups to where my trainer wanted them, and my leg would just stay there!! Highly recommend!!!
                                      We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                                      • #20
                                        Hahahaha! I have a lovely pair of Petries I got (a) on sale and (b) with a discount coupon on top...and they sit in the closet, because I don't trust my horse not to dump me, and I don't want those expensive (to me $350 eight years ago) boots cut off, so I wear my ANCIENT $150 off-the-rack boots, and you know what? They polish up just FINE.

                                        Jacket - about 10 years old, $125
                                        Breeches - newish, full seat, Kerrits $99
                                        Show shirts and stocks: gifts from friends $0.00. The one stock I bought myself, I paid about $25 for.
                                        White show gloves: One pair a gift, the other, Neumann's - $36.
                                        Helmet: Troxel Velvet Grand Prix - less than $100 - used only at shows. IRH microfibre covered helmet for "every day."
                                        You can look fine without spending a forture, and should you reach FEI levels, then you can go for broke with those oh-so-expensive swallow tailed coats, though a friend bought hers at a "tack exchange" store for less than $300.